Dear White People, vol. 3, continues to make fun of modern life with its racial problems and insane politics. It even makes fun of the show itself. It’s fresh, funny, brutally pointed and honest. As with previous seasons, I completely recommend this series.
This season Sam (Logan Browning) gives her radio show, “Dear White People,” to Joelle (Ashley Blaine Featherson). Joelle runs with it, makes it her own.
Sam’s preoccupied trying to make a documentary for her junior thesis. Sam’s shooting lots of video, but she doesn’t have a clue how to make it into something meaningful.
Sam is also preoccupied by the investigation with Lionel (DeRon Horton) into the mysterious Order. The only member of the Order is the former professor and the show’s long-time narrator (Giancarlo Esposito). He wants them to join the Order and also advises them to kill the narrator. As the season moves along, Sam and Lionel find more and more connections between the university and the secret Order.
Sam’s still spending time with Gabe (John Patrick Amedori). Gabe’s parents suddenly go broke and he equally suddenly becomes an advocate for equitable pay and unions.
Lionel, along with Troy (Brandon P Bell), Brooke (Courtney Sauls), and Abigail (Sheridan Pierce), stages a minor revolt. They start a new campus magazine of their own. Their first story is a #MeToo story.
Blair Underwood joins the cast as Moses Brown. He comes to the university to teach and to work on a lifestyle app. He recruits tech help from Reggie (Marque Richardson). Reggie idolizes Brown. When Brown is implicated in a sexual assault by a white student, Muffy (Caitlin Carver), it brings up some powerful material. It devastates Reggie. It splits the students between men and women. The #MeToo storyline takes several episodes and is brilliantly done.
Another storyline about fallen idols involves Sam and her favorite filmmaker Cynthia Fray (Laverne Cox). When Sam gets a chance to meet her, she isn’t impressed.
The brief lesbian foray between Brooke and Kelsey (Nia Jervier) wasn’t particularly well done. As Kelsey put it, Brooke was more of a sexual tourist than genuinely interested. Gay male characters did much better and were everywhere. Lionel became quite the player, at least in his own imagination.
I think it’s great that there are many examples of gay Black men in Dear White People. Lord knows the representation is needed. But more gay women of color would certainly be appreciated. Especially if the women were among the more likeable lead characters and not an annoying character like Brooke.
CoCo (Antoinette Robertson) is trying to get into the Sorbonne. She needs letters of recommendation. We meet CoCo’s mother (Yvette Nicole Brown). She’s loud, doesn’t code switch around CoCo’s friends and mentors, and causes her daughter grief. All the young Black women at the university are trying so hard to be perfect, be successful, be smart, be in control. It isn’t easy. Someone from home can upset that balance in a flash.
I laughed at the digs into how terrible the 3rd season of Netflix shows are. I giggled at all the scenes parodying popular TV shows like The Handmaid’s Tale and Queer Eye.
The few moments when it seemed that the election had resulted in a Black man who acted like the Donald were hilarious. The political jokes were a few months late, but they were still funny.
There were a couple of times when they broke the 4th wall. One time it was the exact same joke used in Gentleman Jack.
The scene in the last few seconds with Al (Jemar Michael) really made me smile. So perfect. In a show about racial inequality, I can’t think of a more fitting way to close out Vol. 3.
Created by Justin Simien, who sometimes directs, too, the writing in this series is concise and deeply meaningful. He knows how to make a point and be funny at the same time. Bravo to Justin Simien.
Several women directed in Vol. 3: Kimberly Peirce, Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Samantha Bailey, Marta Cunningham, Cheryl Dunye, and Tiffany Johnson. A great roster of female directing talent.
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Have you watched season 3 of this Netflix special? What did you think of it?